Encounter With Dead Snow Leopard In Ghunsa

Recently I trekked Kanchenjunga in the month of May. Kanchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world and is located in Eastern Nepal. It borders Tibet and Sikkim. You can check my kanchenjunga circuit trip reporthere. I walked fifteen days clockwise around the Kanchenjunga massif. On the 4th day I arrived at the village of Ghunsa. At the guesthouse I was told that the body of a snow leopard have been discovered and people from the village have gone to retrieve it. I decided to stay one more day to see this unusual finding. So I waited. The next day the snow leopard was brought to the village, along with the horn of a blue sheep. So I went to examine this.

I went to the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project Office where they have the body of the snow leopard. There was a police officer, conservation area officer and lots of local people. They were gathered there with much excitement and curiosity because it was such a rare event. I also was excited and curious. We were all allowed to touch the snow leopard and take a picture. I couldn’t believe how soft his fur and paws were. He was very white with black spot. He was beautiful. When I looked at him closely I could see broken teeth and puncture wounds.

snoe leopard nail
kid watching burial snow leopard
snow leopard close up
dead snow leopard
marking grave with juniper
weigh snow leopard

The police and conservation officers next proceeded to weigh and measure him. He was 9.2 kilo, nearly 3 feet long and they were able to pin point his age to be between eighteen and twenty month. After this they dug a whole and buried the body complete. They marked the grave with juniper plant. The blue sheep horn was placed in the office on display, and one day when you trek there you will be able to see this.

After the burial there was a meeting between the officers and they made a report about the incident. The conclusion was that the snow leopard tried to attack the blue sheep and the blue sheep defended himself by attacking the leopard with his horns and killed him. Later, in the same location where the snow leopard was found there was a body of a blue sheep. It is most likely that the mother of the baby snow leopard came and killed the sheep.

10 Facts About The Snow Leopard

  • They have a length of up to 125 cm.
  • The feet of the snow leopard are wide and well padded with fur, and perform like a snowshoe.
  • The tail of the snow leopard is almost as long as their body.
  • They use their tail for warmth by wrapping it around their body.
  • A lion can roar but a snow leopard cannot.
  • A snow leopard can leap the distance of up to nine meter. Unbelievable!
  • The mother snow leopard makes a fur lined nest to give birth, and usually produces one or two cubs at a time when she is two and half years old.
  • It is unusual for mammals, but the snow leopard has no sight until nine days after birth.
  • They live at high altitude, up to 5500 meter in Himalayas!
  • The snow leopard is a carnivore and is able to hunt and kill animals three time its size.

For me this was a most unusual and exciting experience. Trekking the Kanchenjunga is an unpredictable adventure and anything can happen. The pictures that you see above were taken by myself and please do not republish without my permission. Contact me.

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Article by Pradeep Guragain

Pradeep is the co-founder of Magical Nepal. He was born and bred in Nepal and is a seasoned hiker and rider.

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